Feeds

Greenland's super-melty summer

Ice is sooo last season

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The higher peaks of the Greenland icesheet spent longer melting this summer than any summer since 1988, according to a NASA funded study. The research revealed that enough snow melted in Greenland this year to cover the surface of the USA more than two times over*.

Image of the so-called 2007 Greenland melting anomaly. Credit: NASA

Image of the so-called 2007 Greenland melting anomaly.

Credit: NASA

This so-called melting anomaly is calculated using microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imaging radiometer. It refers to the difference between the number of melting days occuring in 2007 and the average number of melting days during the period 1988 to 2006.

Oddly, the increased melting was predominantly concentrated in higher altitude regions.

"When snow melts at those high altitudes and then refreezes, it can absorb up to four times more energy than fresh, unthawed snow," said Marco Tedesco, a research scientists at the Joint Centre for Earth Systems Technology.

"This can affect Earth's energy budget by changing how much radiation from the sun is absorbed by the Earth versus that reflected back into the atmosphere. Refrozen snow can also alter the snow density, thickness and snow-water content."

Tedesco said the results came as something of a surprise, and demonstrated just how complex the environmental systems of our planet are.

Overall, the time spent melting in Greenland this year was up 30 per cent on the average for the last two decades. This isn't a record peak, but could be indicative of a trend towards longer periods of melting in the region.

Tedesco noted: "Aside from contributing to direct sea level rise, melting especially along the coast can speed up glaciers since the meltwater acts like a lubricant between the frozen surface and the bedrock deep below. The faster glaciers flow, the more water enters the ocean and potentially impacts sea level rise." ®

Click here for a larger version of the picture, with appropriate scale.

*What this is in sheepsecs/multiples of Wales is left as an exercise for the reader.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.